Keeping rock n’ roll sexy
Fifteen minutes into our over the phone interview, Whale and the Wolf vocalist Ryan Maier tells me he put a lot of money on the Jays game and what drastic actions he’ll have to take if they don’t come through.
“If for whatever reason they lose the game while we’re on this interview with you, and the phone goes silent, it’s because I drove my truck into a train to collect insurance … Take that out. Take that out of the story,” says Maier.
He, guitarist Brandon Yaggey, bassist Lucas Holt, and new drummer Joel Jeschke, are packed up and on the road, having just played the first show of their Western Canadian tour the night before. A few days earlier, they released a brand new song and are in exceptionally high spirits.
Six minutes into the interview and Maier asks me if I hate them yet.
Whale and the Wolf plays a style of music that it calls “erotic rock,” which is just as well since the sound is seemingly drawn from enough places as to make it difficult to pigeonhole. It’s one of those musical designations that you need to hear before you get it, and it’s part of a list of things that makes the band stand out. Another is that they print band shirts with pictures of fans and friends wearing their other band shirts.
“Yeah, before every show we watch the movie Inception,” Maier jokes. “We wanted to take that to the next level with, like, a shirt, in a shirt, inside a shirt, inside a shirt, inside a dream.”
‘Touch’ is Whale and the Wolf’s latest erotic offering and it’s an earworm —a single track with an accompanying music video, artwork, and aesthetic completely its own. It’s one of a few fresh and ambitious multimedia projects scheduled throughout the rest of 2017.
“We basically wanted to spend the same amount of time and energy on producing and marketing three songs that we would do on an entire 10 song record,” says Maier. “Just because of the point where we’re at with this band. We’re an indie band, you know? We’re funding it all ourselves. So we’re like, let’s fucking put out the best damn vibe we can for three songs and market the piss out of them, and really build an aura around each song individually.”
That attention to detail is an important part of the band’s success. Since their start in the fall of 2013, Whale and the Wolf were nominated for Rock Recording of the Year at the 2015 Edmonton Music Awards, and just last year played the Annual Halloween Howler. Now they’re making big moves to incorporate the forceful visuals and lighting on display in their music videos into their local performances as well. The show at the Needle on June 10 is one they’re looking forward to the most.
“We will also be throwing hamburgers out to the crowd … Take that out. Take that part out,” says Maier. “We will not be doing that. We can’t do that.”
Though the road might offer more of glimpse of a more relaxed and jovial side, the band on the stage is still all business. Despite the Jays losing 7-0 later in the day, Whale and the Wolf will soon return to Edmonton to remind the hometown folks how to keep rock and roll sexy.
“I think we do put out a really fun, good time vibe,” says Maier. “But it’s all about the music. Right guys?” The phone erupts in agreement and then a long pause before they all start in at once.
“Take that out.”
“Take that out, take that out.”
“Take it all out!”
Sat., June 10 (8 pm)
Whale and the Wolf w/ The Unfortunates and KickupaFuss
The Needle, $12 in Advance